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Bad Guy Review

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A jilted mobster forces a young student into prostitution.

★★★★★

Love, so often cinema's most powerfully positive force, reveals its nasty, twisted side in this Korean movie.

Sullen gang boss Han-gi spots college girl Sun-hwa on a park bench, but when he forcibly kisses her, she spits in his face. Combining his anger with lust, he frames her for pickpocketing then forces her into prostitution. Watching her with clients through a two-way mirror - enveloped by shadows, dressed in black, head shaven - he resembles Marlon Brando as Kurtz in Apocalypse Now. But it's this film that has a heart of darkness, and audiences are likely to feel distinctly uncomfortable while witnessing the destruction of Sun-hwa's innocence.

What could have been a cold study in immorality strays too much into exploitation territory, although the performances and insight into life in Seoul's red light district are strong.

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